Anti-Inflammatory Medication Instructions

You have been given samples and/or a prescription for one of the anti-arthritic/anti-inflammatory medications that is classified as “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications” (NSAID). NSAID medications are frequently used to treat arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, synovitis, and other inflammatory processes as well as having some analgesic effects. While many different chemicals comprise this overall drug treatment group, they have many characteristics that they share, particularly in terms of side effects.

The most common side effects of these drugs are gastrointestinal, a sense of heartburn or upset stomach. Therefore, we recommended that you TAKE THESE MEDICATIONS AFTER MEALS OR WITH FOOD to help prevent these symptoms from occurring. Other gastrointestinal side effects include diarrhea and the possible development of ulcers. If you have a history of ulcers, please make sure to let your physician know. Your physician may not want to use any of the NSAID medications. Alternately, you may be able to take one of the anti-ulcer medications (Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid, Cytotec, or Protonix) to enable you to take one of the anti-inflammatory medications.

The most common names for frequently used NSAID medications include Ibuprofen, Indocin, Naprosyn, Aleve, Daypro, Relafen, Mobic and Arthrotec. Bextra and Celebrex are similar medications as those listed above except a newer version called Cox 2 inhibitors. While there are less side effects associated with these new Cox 2 medications, this information still applies.

For those patients taking high blood pressure medication, you should continue to monitor your blood pressure more frequently while you are taking the anti-inflammatory medication. Occasionally, your anti-inflammatory can interact with your blood pressure medication and make it less effective. While this doesn’t happen frequently, it does mean that you need to monitor your blood pressure to make sure that the medication is still working effectively. If you have any compromise in kidney function, please make sure your doctor knows this prior to beginning the anti-inflammatory medication. Your doctor may elect to draw additional blood tests to check your kidney and electrolyte function. Patients taking blood thinners, particularly Coumadin/Warfarin, usually are not given anti-inflammatory medication. However, if you take NSAID medication and blood thinners, your protime must be monitored more frequently.

Other common side effects associated with NSAID medication include headache (particularly with Indocin) and a spaced out and woozy feeling. There are a number of other side effects that occur only rarely involving liver, kidney, eye, and bone marrow problems, but these usually occur when taking the medication for a prolonged period of time.


If you have any questions, please call our office at (314) 966-8887.